What to release under what name?

January 25, 2023 6:28 PM

Hey, I'd like to know what folks here think of a problem I have involving releasing music that is really different from your previous music.

I've released an album under my own personal name. It was a fairly long and ponderous album that most people would characterize as "serious". A few people that don't know me personally have bought it.

I'm working on more music that is like that, but I also took a break and put together album that is very different. The songs are short and more or less "fun".

I was thinking that I want to put it out under my name as well, but I do not want to disappoint people following me on Bandcamp that expect something completely different. While I'm not going to be AC/DC-like in my consistency, I do understand what it's like to think you're going to get something from an artist and then you don't.

Then again, maybe most people don't think it's a big deal and then just wait for the next album?

It probably doesn't matter that much, and yet I do want to make the right call here.

Thanks for listening and any advice is appreciated!
posted by ignignokt (4 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I've thought that through too. On one hand, plenty of artists (e.g. Jeff Beck, Miles Davis, Taylor Swift, etc) have changed their "styles" many times in their careers while retaining their own identities—most likely because its their true selves that their expressing, not a style.

Other artists, still as true to themselves, have released things under several names—e.g. Aphex Twin, Prince, Eminem, KLF, etc. It might be that they are trying to differentiate one avenue from another, and feel like they're expressing different styles, but still their music is essentially them no matter what moniker they publish it under.

And then there are listeners and then there are fans. Listeners accept and stick around or move on. Fans idolize. Listeners listen; fans have expectations. I don't know if you have fans or listeners.

I don't think there's a clearcut answer, but I've put a few different names on my stuff before that have varied wildly, like "Jimmy O'Clock" is the name I use for specifically sound collage, whereas not_on_display is what I've settled on for my everyday whatever-comes-to-mind stuff.

The band I am in, the in Out, well, we took a wild swerve over the median strip for our most recent EP—it sounds nothing like anything the band has ever released, but as it still contained the essence of the band's... voice...?, we decided to release it as the in Out, even though initially we'd meant to call ourselves something else (no decision was made) because what we were doing was so against the grain of previous releases. We'd had some "fans" in the distant past, and I am sure if some of them heard what we just did they'd say "nope!!" But also we had listeners, and I think if they would hear the album, they would think, "Ha, yeah, that's them." (We've sold ELEVEN copies of this EP. I don't know what the reaction would have been like if we put this out back when we were getting local airplay, and if we hadn't taken several long hiatuses.)

I think what matters is that if your "voice" (in the writing sense) comes out, people will know it's you and they'll like it or they won't. Yeah, I just typed this all out for nothing. Follow your heart.
posted by not_on_display at 7:14 PM on January 25, 2023 [2 favorites]

Thanks for the perspective, not_on_display! Regardless of what I end up doing (leaning slightly toward just using the same name), I feel better for having read that.

Eleven copies is fantastic, BTW!
posted by ignignokt at 6:29 PM on January 26, 2023

Yeah, and much much easier than hitting the pavement going from record store to record store asking them to take expensive vinyl-pressed copies on consignment.

I look forward to the Fresh Style Ignignokt product! (Whatever name you use. I guess I do favor consistency over trying to find a perfect name. I'm always coming up with Band Names.

There's one now: The Band Names
posted by not_on_display at 7:18 PM on January 26, 2023 [2 favorites]

Look out for my new Band Name and the Side Projects drop!
posted by ignignokt at 7:39 AM on January 27, 2023 [3 favorites]

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